Heat network regulations FAQs

23rd February 2018 |

We know that there are a lot of questions surrounding the heat network (metering and billing) regulations. We have compiled a list of questions and answers to help you to understand the legislation more clearly.

Q: What are the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014?

A: The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 implement the requirements in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) with respect to the supply of distributed heat, cooling, hot water and cold water.

Q: What is a district heat network and communal heating?

A: District heat network means the distribution of thermal energy in the form of steam, hot water or chilled liquids from a central source of production through a network to multiple buildings or sites for the use of space or process heating, cooling or hot water.

Communal heating means the distribution of thermal energy in the form of steam, hot water, or chilled liquids from a central source in a building which is occupied by more than one final customer, for the use of space or process heating, cooling or hot water.

Q:What is the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)?

A: The EED promotes energy efficiency in the EU to achieve the on energy efficiency. It lays down rules to overcome market failures that impede efficiency in the supply and use of energy.

Q: Who enforces the regulations in the UK?

A: There are over 21,000 heat networks in the UK, supplying hundreds of thousands of dwellings, commercial premises, and public buildings. The legislation is enforced in the UK by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) . BEIS is also responsible for receiving notifications under regulation 3.

Q: Who are the heat suppliers?

A: Heat supplier means a person who supplies and charges for the supply of heating, cooling or hot water to a final customer, through— (a) Communal heating; or (b) A district heat network;

Q: Who are the final customers?

A: Final customers are the end users of the heating supplied by district heat networks and communal heating. Final customers are effectively the purchasers of the heat who have a direct financial arrangement with a heat supplier to provide the heating to them.

Q: If a scheme is not individually metered and the feasibility study fails is there no further action to be taken?

A: The heat supplier is obliged to repeat the test every 4 years. You should also ensure that you comply to the billing requirements of the regulation even though there are no final meters.

Q: In the case where individual customer end point meters are not deemed feasible is there still an obligation under “Billing 9” to raise an annual bill based on the consumption metered at the block level meter?

A: It is right that wherever heat meters are installed (including block level meters) the final customers’ bills must be based on actual consumption.

Q: What happens if tenants are transient?

A: See the list of exclusions in Heat Networks Scope Guidance page 4.

Q: What are my requirements to fit point of entry (bulk) meters?

A: The regulations state that a meter must be situated at a heat exchanger in the building or at the point of entry of the district heat network pipes into the building. This type of meter is generally known as a bulk meter. There is also an ongoing obligation to continuously operate, properly maintain and periodically check for errors.

Q: How should end consumers on blocks be billed should they not have end consumer metering?

Guidance on this has not been produced by BEIS, it may be considered in the future depending on an identified need. The regulations do state that where meters are installed, bills must be based on actual consumption however there’s no specific instruction in the regulations on how to share the cost of heating amongst the residents of any such block. Cost is regularly split equally between all tenants or based on floor space.

Q: If there is currently bulk heat metering facilities fitted within the boiler house. Is there also, a requirement for bulk heat meters to be fitted to the individual blocks?

A: Yes you must have a block entry meter if more than one block is connected to the heat network.

Q: Can the prepayment meters, for the purpose of this directive be deemed Heat Cost Allocators?

A: A prepayment unit (meter) is not a heat cost allocator. But if you have a heat prepayment unit you have a meter anyway.

Q: For individually metered properties we believe bills can be estimated as long as an attempt is made to take a reading at least once a year. Access can be an issue for Housing Associations, so we cannot guarantee time and resource to ensure individual meter readings are taken as and when required. Once a year we can offer this service and provide an appointment to read the meter, but if the resident is not willing to cooperate, would there be a penalty?

A: If you have installed a quality automatic meter reading (AMR) system which delivers actual meter reads (it does not rely on pulsed outputs) then there is no requirement to access the meter for the read. The situation may be less clear if an AMR system uses pulsed outputs, we would suggest that the organisation should satisfy themselves that the readings from the pulsed outputs are reliable. One way of doing this would be to carry out sample checks or address this at a planned preventative maintenance visit.

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